6 TikTok Gut Health Myths—Debunked   

6 TikTok Gut Health Myths—Debunked

Young girl with stomach issues and pain
Clinical Contributors to this story:
Shamila Zawahir, M.D.

These days, TikTok seems gut obsessed, with a plethora of posts about tummy troubles and advice on how to solve these problems. Unfortunately, this had led to the spread of misinformation and bad advice. 

Our pediatric gastroenterologist, Shamila Zawahir, M.D.,  puts 6 common gut health myths to rest.

1. Grains Are Bad for the Gut

It’s true that some people have a wheat intolerance or celiac disease. But for people without an intolerance or allergy, grains—particularly whole grains—are not harmful to your gut. “In fact, whole grains are good for the gut because fiber helps with beneficial bacteria growth,” says Dr. Zawahir.

2. Avoid Water While Eating

According to some TikTok videos, you should avoid drinking water while or after eating because it will dilute your stomach acid and slow down digestion. “The truth is, there’s no scientific evidence that water interferes with digestion in any way,” says Dr. Zawahir. “Water is necessary for good health and survival. It helps breakdown foods and absorb nutrients.  Water is also important to keep your stools soft and prevent constipation.”

3. Eat Fruit Only on an Empty Stomach

Another common misconception is that fruit should only be eaten on an empty stomach because it won’t digest with other foods and will rot in your stomach. “There is no evidence to back this,” says Dr. Zawahir. “Things cannot rot in your stomach. Fruit can be eaten at any time with or without food and won’t affect the timing of your digestion.”

4. Apple Cider Vinegar Burns Fat and Promote Weight Loss

While apple cider vinegar is relatively safe, it is extremely acidic and could irritate your throat and interact with certain medications. “In addition, trends like the apple cider vinegar challenge for weight loss promotes unhealthy ideas in general about food and eating,” says Dr. Zawahir. 

5. Colon Cleanses Promote Wellness

There is no supported scientific evidence that colonic cleansing—through colonics, coffee enemas or any other method—promotes or improves general health. “Colon cleanses could lead to harmful effects such as dehydration or electrolyte imbalances,” says Dr. Zawahir.

6. Parasites Are Responsible for Most Gut Issues

This myth promotes parasite cleanses to solve most gut issues. While parasitic infections are widespread on a global scale, they aren’t common in places with good sanitation and close monitoring of water and food supplies. If you live in the U.S. and are having gut issues, this isn’t the most likely candidate. “But even if you do have a parasite, you should seek treatment with a doctor because home cleanses have no merit,” says Dr. Zawahir 

Dr. Zawahir concludes: “Gut health is important because it has an impact on your everyday life.  If you are having stomach or intestinal issues of any kind, see your doctor because there is a possibility that something you found on TikTok won’t work or could be harmful to your health.”

Next Steps & Resources:

  • Meet our source: Shamila Zawahir, M.D.
  • To make an appointment with a gastroenterologist near you, call 800-822-8905 or visit our website.

The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.


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